I’m convinced that I was born 25 years too early or the New Balance Minimus LX was released 25 years too late. Either way, I really could have used a pair of these kicks during my high school golf days.
After a poor tournament or match, we would show up at practice the next day and our coach would not so politely let us know that we were playing ‘run golf’ that day. ‘Run golf’ is exactly what you would think it is — something slightly more tame than Golf Channel’s Altered Course, minus the prizes, glory and TV cameras.
Keep in mind, this usually took place in the swamp-like heat and humidity of late August in Virginia, and it was before dual strap bags, lightweight microfiber uppers and soft spikes. I can still feel the metal spikes on those Etonic brogues on the bottoms of my feet. To this day, I’m not sure how this was supposed to improve our performance in the next tourney, but when your golf coach is also the basketball coach, and can’t break 100, we were just happy to not be running 18 holes of suicides.
Those of you who have worn New Balance shoes for jogging, training or just on the street know why I’m looking for Marty McFly, Doc and a DeLorean for a little time travel back to my not-so glory days. New Balance is known for its comfortable and high performance running shoes, and it has carried these same qualities over to its new line of golf kicks. Yes, ‘run golf’ would have been much easier in the Minimus LX.
2015 will go down as the Year of the Golf Shoe. I can’t think of a year when so many stylish, comfortable and high performance golf shoes have been released. I’ve been lucky enough to wear a number of them, and New Balance’s Minimus LX has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise.
Having been a kid who played those new-fangled Taylor Made Pittsburgh Persimmon metal woods and controversial Ping Eye 2’s back in the day, I’m surprised to say that I would be considered a traditionalist by today’s standards. That being said, I tend to raise an eyebrow of suspicion towards any new brand that enters the golf market. Do they really understand the performance demands of the modern game?
Any suspicions I had about the performance of the Minimus LX were quickly put to rest, though. The first time I teed it up in the Minimus LX, I went out in a tidy 33 on the front nine and came home in 37 for my best round of the year. If not for the biggest choke this side of Greg Norman at Augusta, it could have been even better. New Balance has also picked up a following with PGA Tour players, including Arnold Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders. So if you don’t want to take my word for New Balance’s performance, just ask yourself if you really think the King would allow his grandson to lace up anything but a top shelf shoe.
One thing that I’ve found with many sneaker-inspired golf shoes is that they lack the lateral support needed for the golf swing. Granted, I’m not topping out Trackman with Rory McIlroy swing speeds, but even slower swing speeds can cave an ankle like a Steph Curry crossover if shoes are lacking the needed support. I’m happy to report that I don’t have to guard Steph and that the Minimus LX has plenty of lateral support, and traction for that matter. The spikeless outsole provides top-notch grip in a variety of conditions, and even features pronged spikes that look like soft spikes.
Barefoot technology has been one of the biggest trends in athletic footwear over the last five years. Given the name ‘Minimus,’ you may think that the Minimus LX fits into this category. New Balance, however, classifies it as a minimal shoe with 4mm of drop compared to zero drop barefoot models. What I like about New Balance’s minimal drop is that I feel like it gets me into a solid posture at address compared to zero drop shoes that I’ve worn. The 4mm of drop gets me more on the balls of my feet, while still offering the same comfort as barefoot models.
Speaking of comfort, the Minimus LX checks in at a measly 8.8 ounces thanks to a lightweight, waterproof microfiber upper, and the same feathery REVlite cushioned midsole that New Balance employs in its running shoes. According to New Balance, REVlite is an innovative foam compound that provides the same responsiveness and durability of foams 30% heavier. To help combat swamp foot in warm conditions New Balance uses its Ortholite insole in the Minimus LX to wick moisture and allow air to flow to the foot.
From a style standpoint, there is no hiding the fact the Minimus LX is a very sporty, sneaker-inspired shoe. For that reason, it is best to pair these with a very casual pair of shorts. What I like most about the style of the Minimus LX are the tonal accents. While the aesthetics of some athletic-inspired golf shoes are too busy with bold accents, the tonal accents on the Minimus LX offer an understated look, while maintaining aggressive lines.
If you favor a sneaker-style shoe on the course, then New Balance’s Minimus LX should be on your radar.